Jump to content

Bel Canto - What is that?

Rate this topic


babystar
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello everybody!

I recently started out taking singing lessons with a Singing teacher here in Switzerland. She has lots of experience (20 years) and is now teaching me stuff so I can sing with correct technique.

I found out, my singing teacher is teaching me Bel Canto-method. Before I had singing teachers teaching the methods from CVT and Estill Voice Training.

My teacher also told me, that Whitney Houston, Barbara Streisand and Luciano Pavarotti do/did used these Bel Canto - method. Many other singers also use it, but she just mentioned these singers to me, since I also told her Whintey Houston is one of my greatest voice-inspirations. And ofcourse, she also told me, Bel Canto is a classical voice training, but can be in use for contemporary voice training aswell. WHAT????? >.<

Then she told me, to sing like Whitney Houston, it's hard work, which does NOT suprise me at all!

But I just now wonder, what is Bel Canto? What exactly does it teach me? I'm sorry to ask this but for CVT people, will this method teach me how to sing Curbing up to an F5 for example and Overdrive up to a C5?

She takes me from the ALL beginning with practising Breath Control and Open Throat and I have to sing "Mum" and "Woh". I'm already cryin' that it's so much hard work already!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Classical singing can be used in temporary pop. It's just a matter of artistic choice.

Overdrive C5 and curbing F5 in bel canto? No. But the teacher might still help you get there.

Bel canto is a very classical style. Females never use overdrive at C5 ever in classical singing :). Curbing at F5 is something I doubt aswell, what I've heard from classical singing is that it's all about neutral when it comes to high notes for females.

But this teacher has 20 years of experience. And you told her that you want to sing like Whitney Houston, she should know that you need curbing(Although she would not phrase it with that word) and not neutral for the high notes.

I'd love to hear Steven comment on this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Claudia,

So Bel Canto is sometimes used to mean the same thing as classical singing. Sort of a catch all to cover one school of thought about how one should sing, which has been harmonized with opera and a lot of academic classical voice programs.

Clearly there is variation, and to some Bel Canto is a particular area of classical voice. I think several forum members are from a classical tradition and they may be able to add additional clarity but, classical voice training has been around for a long time and many people have been exposed to it, even if they ran away screaming ;) And btw, I am sure many of the folks with classical backgrounds here would be open minded instructors so yours may be too.

No one has an exclusive license on how to sing well, and in fact all of the modes described in CVT have one role or other in classical voice, at least for men. For women over drive is said to only be used in the low part of the voice when singing loud. And at least according to the CVT book, women don’t use edge in classical voice. The biggest thing about “Bel Canto” is what the name implies … I am sure you are a much more talented linguist than I am given you are from CH. But for the rest of the readers, it means “beautiful singing.” Classical instructors, typically teach a specific aesthetic which they find beautiful. If that is what you would like to sing that is great.

There are certainly wonderful teachers, and voice scientists that may teach classical voice as well as other styles and I do not mean to paint them all with a broad brush. But one thing at least to be aware of is that some classical instructors may welcome other students but it is not as common for people who claim to teach “Bel Canto” to be particularly flexible about what they teach. For example, they seldom welcome death metal screams ;) I had a classical voice teacher for awhile back in college, and actually he taught me some very important things that I didn’t think were true at the time, and perhaps I could have learned far more from him, but I quit because I was tired of singing love songs in Italian.

Also classical instructors can be the source of plentiful incorrect information about how dangerous it is if you do not sing “correctly” using classical style. Not all are, and I admit my classical instructor was fairly open minded, other than only teaching Italian love songs….admittedly Signing Success does exactly the same thing. (not the love song part... the part about incorrect information about dangers)

To sum up, “bel canto” is as much an aesthetic as a technique. If you don’t want that sound, you should at least ask your voice teacher if they can help you learn other styles and techniques. If they tell you that you need to develop your voice classically before you can safely sing other styles, find another instructor ;)

Just my 2 cents worth.

Doug

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Classical singing can be used in contemporary pop. It's just a matter of artistic choice.

Overdrive C5 and curbing F5 in bel canto? No. But the teacher might still help you get there.

Bel canto is a very classical style. Females never use overdrive at C5 ever in classical singing :). Curbing at F5 is something I doubt aswell, what I've heard from classical singing is that it's all about neutral when it comes to high notes for females.

But this teacher has 20 years of experience. And you told her that you want to sing like Whitney Houston, she should know that you need curbing(Although she would not phrase it with that word) and not neutral for the high notes.

I'd love to hear Steven comment on this.

Snorth, Claudia: There is some variation in the particulars used by 'Bel Canto' teachers, but I think it is safe to say that some of its concepts can be carried over well , and some cannot.

The concepts which go across well to other genres are:

breath management/control

attention to vowel formation

vowel modification

legato and articulation

dynamics and expression

posture

resonance (ping and formant tuning)

phrasing

HOWEVER, other genres have different preferences for what is appropriate performance practice. For example, while the concept of dynamics exists in pop, you very rarely hear deliberate dynamic shaping of a phrase there, whereas in Classical you hear it all the time. In another area, vowel formation, the classical pronunciations will all favor acoustically resonant forms that work in an unamplified venue... the so-called 'chiarroscurro'. That simply would not be used in a gospel song, rock ballad or scream-fest.

I agree that for the female voice, what CVT calls 'neutral' or 'metal-like neutral' are likely to be the Bel canto preference. Its just that those terms would not be used. It would be 'middle voice', or 'head voice' with ring, or even more simply... Head voice Rules! If Overdrive, Curbing or edge are used at all, they would be in the lower ranges for the purpose of helping the student gain familiarity with the different sensations and to help anchor the power of the voice.

If Claudia wants to 'sound like' Whitney, then I think the best way to understand what this teacher will do is to work those songs in lessons. It might be very confusing, but useful, to learn how to sing 'I will always love you' (which, by the way, contains some high neutral by Whitney) with classical technique, AND with contemporary pop technique. Some teachers do this very effectively, but it takes a student willing to carry the two aesthetics in their mind, and to know which vocalisms are appropriate to both. In other words, to be able to do both kinds of techniques authentically.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It means beautiful singing. You can use Bel Canto in any styles. It simply is a way to open up the voice by creating the right space for the voice resonate freely in a rich harmonic environment. A Bel Canto voice sounds round, full, balanced and floating. FREE!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Bel Canto voice sounds round, full, balanced and floating. FREE!

I guess that's very subjective. Also, even if it does sound "free" then that doesn't mean that it actually feels that way - just like a heavy distortion might sound very "constricted" but feels totally "free". :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello everybody!

I recently started out taking singing lessons with a Singing teacher here in Switzerland. She has lots of experience (20 years) and is now teaching me stuff so I can sing with correct technique.

I found out, my singing teacher is teaching me Bel Canto-method. Before I had singing teachers teaching the methods from CVT and Estill Voice Training.

My teacher also told me, that Whitney Houston, Barbara Streisand and Luciano Pavarotti do/did used these Bel Canto - method. Many other singers also use it, but she just mentioned these singers to me, since I also told her Whintey Houston is one of my greatest voice-inspirations. And ofcourse, she also told me, Bel Canto is a classical voice training, but can be in use for contemporary voice training aswell. WHAT????? >.<

Then she told me, to sing like Whitney Houston, it's hard work, which does NOT suprise me at all!

But I just now wonder, what is Bel Canto? What exactly does it teach me? I'm sorry to ask this but for CVT people, will this method teach me how to sing Curbing up to an F5 for example and Overdrive up to a C5?

She takes me from the ALL beginning with practising Breath Control and Open Throat and I have to sing "Mum" and "Woh". I'm already cryin' that it's so much hard work already!

claudia, if your a knowledge hound like me, here's a link to some free lessons!

http://belcanto.myseriestv.com/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

HI everybody!

Thansk so much for your answers!

Snorth,

I think you're right! I actually asked my teacher AGAIN, what she teaches. She told me "the old soul-technique, which many black singers sing". She refeered that to sing Soul I have to sing how Soul singers like Whitney Houston, her mom Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross etc. I asked her, "What about Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey etc.?" She immediately said they don't have this proper Soul-techinque. I like that I will learn this "Soul-singing", but I have no clue what kind of method this is. I just hope I learn what I really want. And one thing I don't like about her is that I asked if she can teach growling, than she said I'm not fat and big mama so I won't be able to learn growling. She didn't say it's dangerous, but this I dislike with her, 'cause she can sing growling herself! She even showed it to me. Although I know how to growl I but sometimes I wished I had better control on my growling but maybe that comes with correct support, but I found out that she's totally Old-school! And she's like a dinasour to me sometimes! :(

Doug,

I realized, I'm not teaching the Bel Canto way, but what my singing teacher said is that the Soul-technique and Classical-technique are very similar to each other. She told me that "Belting" is working a lot with the larynx and a lot of twang, and that's not what for exmaple, Whitney Houston use. I am no way practising any classical sound with my teacher, however my exercises sounds dark when I practice on Woh and Mum.

Joshual,

I dunno who's Kem Tamplin. Is he good?

valbastien,

Oh, I understand that. That's how it feels. Is it really true that you can sing Bel Canto in any style? I thought it's just a Classical-technique. I feel a bit confused, but than it sounds like an opposite way of the SLS-technique?

Martin,

I agree with you. Sometimes when I growl, it sounds more free than if I would sing CVT's Neutral. Lol

VIDEOHERE,

Thank you so much for the link! I will check it out!

Thank you so much for your all your help!

/ Claudia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...